Author: Stephen King
Page Count/Review Word Count: 342
Blaze is an interesting book, because despite the fact that King’s protagonist is clearly a bit of a wrong ‘un, you do end up feeling compassion for him. He’s incredibly complex, and the book weaves backwards and forwards through time and shows you exactly why Blaze, Clayton Blaisdell Jr., behaves the way he does.
Broadly speaking, the story follows what happens when Blaze follows up with his old pal George’s plan to kidnap a baby and to hold it ransom. Unfortunately, George is dead, and whilst Blaze can still hear him in his head, just like he’s still there beside him, he’s going to have to work on this job on his own. And Blaze isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the box – when he was a kid, his abusive father threw him down the stairs, leaving a big dent in his forehead and an even larger dent in his intellect.
I don’t want to spoil the story line for you by going in any deeper than that, but I will tell you that it’s a fantastic read if you want a book that will play with your expectations. King published this book under his pseudonym of Richard Baxter, even though I’m pretty sure his secret was already out by the time that it went to publication. But you can see why he might’ve wanted to do this – it’s not your typical Stephen King read, and whilst it is a lot of fun, it’s also a little different.
I’ve found that King’s work as Richard Bachman tends to show off his skills to their fullest, and Blaze easily holds its own against some of his best work, although it doesn’t have the same level of recognition. With such a broad body of work under his belt, King’s reputation is formidable – there are any number of books to start with, and I’d say that this one is as good as any other. It’s just not horror.